How to Share the Road With Cyclists

When cars and bikes collide, both the motorist and the cyclist can be traumatized. The motorist, by colliding with a cyclist; and the cyclist, by being hit. Cars are much larger, travel much faster, and provide better protection to their operator. It can be hard to spot cyclists on the road due to their smaller size. This presents a problem when cars and bikes have to share the road with each other. Cyclists are not always at fault when it comes to collisions. In fact, studies show that they are only at fault about 10% of the time. What does this mean? That you, as the motorist, have some responsibilities when driving around cyclists.


  1. Image titled Share the Road With Cyclists Step 1
    Look for bike traffic. The first step to sharing the road with a cyclist is to know that they're there. When you are backing up, look for someone of a bike. When passing another car, look for a bicycle. They have a right to be on the road, so look for them.
  2. Image titled Share the Road With Cyclists Step 2
    Yield to cyclists on sidewalks. If a cyclist is on the sidewalk, be careful. Before you pull out of an ally, driveway, or parking lot; yield to a cyclist on the sidewalk.
  3. Image titled Share the Road With Cyclists Step 3
    Use caution around kids on sidewalks. Kids really are unpredictable. Especially kids who are learning to ride a bike. They may swerve out into traffic, try to pop a wheelie, fall, or a number of other unexpected things. Drive slowly, and be prepared to stop!
  4. Image titled Share the Road With Cyclists Step 4
    Respect cyclists in the middle of the lane. Why would a cyclist be in the middle of the lane? Aren't they supposed to stay to the side? Yes, but there may be hazards on their part of the road. Broken glass, construction barricades, parked cars, pile of dirt or leaves; all these things that motorists don't have to worry about, will make cyclists get into the middle of the lane. Don't follow them too closely, and watch for hazards on the side of the road. If a cyclists needs to get into the lane to avoid these dangers, or make a left-hand turn, let them do so.
  5. Image titled Share the Road With Cyclists Step 5
    Pass safely. When passing a bike, you have to keep at least three feet in between your car and the cyclist. When moving at high speeds, slow down and give them more room when you pass. The wind draft off of your vehicle can suck them towards you. One more situation where a bike needs more room would be going up a hill. Cyclists have to pump harder to get up a hill, and this usually means the bike rocks back-and-forth a little. Give them more than three feet.
  6. Image titled Share the Road With Cyclists Step 6
    Execute safe right hand turns. Don't cut in front of bikes. Sometimes, when cars want to make a right turn, they speed up to get in front of the bike, only to hit the brakes when they turn. Be patient. Slow down, wait for the bike to pass, and then make the turn.
  7. Image titled Share the Road With Cyclists Step 7
    Be careful at stop signs. When a car stops at a four-way stop, they usually look for other cars. However, cyclists have just as much right to use the road as a car. If the bike came to the intersection first, it gets to go first. If it's on the right, and both the car and the bike arrived at the same time, the cyclist has the right of way.
  8. Image titled Share the Road With Cyclists Step 8
    Be safe when performing left hand turns. Again, patience is key. Bikes are smaller and thus are harder to spot. Before you make a left-hand turn, scan the area closely for cars and bikes. Also, because they are smaller they look farther away, and most motorists think cyclists move fairly slowly. (However, bikes can easily be traveling at 25–30 mph (40–48 km/h).) So be patient, and be careful when judging the distance and speed of oncoming bikes.
  9. Image titled Share the Road With Cyclists Step 9
    Watch for bikes in your blind spots. Because bikes are smaller, they are harder to see than a car. Blind spots can completely hide a bike. Make sure you check over your shoulder for bikes in particular, before turning, passing, or merging.
  10. Image titled Share the Road With Cyclists Step 10
    Open car doors with caution. Would you believe that some of the worst car-bike incidents are conflicts between cyclists and car doors? It's true. Many cyclists are injured each year by either having a car door hit their bike from the side, from behind, or by running into it as it's opened. Look for cyclists before you open the door.


  • Don't be in such a hurry.
  • If you have a hard time understanding that bikes have as much right to the road as you try thinking of it as, "Driving a Bike." It's just a smaller vehicle.
  • Spotting the bike is one of the most important parts to sharing the road. Develop good visual habits for seeing bikes.


  • Not following any of these steps greatly increases your chances of injuring a cyclist, and even yourself.

Sources and Citations

Article Info

Categories: Bicycles | Motorcycles